This Sunday is going to be the biggest day in the history of Qatar as the FIFA World Cup comes to the Middle East for the first time ever. While it means the world to millions of football fans who have started pouring into the country to witness this extraordinary sporting event, the world cup is also a strategic move for the host country to advance its infrastructure development and foreign policy objectives. It is a move to realize the Qatar National Vision 2030, a full-blown initiative by the government to transform Qatar into a global hub and increase the living standards in the country.
A lot has been going on in Qatar in the lead-up to the month-long tournament, which will see an estimated 1.2 million visitors, almost half of the country’s population. The government has initiated war-scale preparations to provide for the tournament, but these infrastructural developments will also promote a post-tournament sustainability model. While state-of-the-art stadiums have been built to provide for the tournament, the government has also introduced a modern metro system, further developed its airports, and constructed new districts within Doha, its capital city.
The World Cup and the Revival of Qatar’s Economy
An event like the FIFA World Cup is a sure way of attracting billions of eyeballs as well as establishing itself as a country that can pull off a feat of this magnitude. The tournament will definitely bring in a lot of investment to the country, but what it also stands to do is kickstart its dream of becoming a regional business hub and a popular tourist destination.
The economy in Qatar has been dominated by its hydrocarbon resources. Home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, its natural resources have contributed significantly to its prosperity. However, the Qatar government is now aiming at economic diversification and growing its non-energy industries. And the world cup has, in many ways, supported the development of these non-energy sectors, which Qatar plans to continue growing in the coming years.
Yet another big goal that Qatar wishes to re-realize is the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment. In 2017, a coalition of Arab countries put an economic blockade on Qatar, drying up its FDIs and hosting the world cup can kickstart foreign investments again. The country has been laying the groundwork to bring the foreign investments back as it allowed a 100% ownership capital in all sectors to instigate higher FDIs in the country. In 2020, it launched a public-private partnership scheme that allows investors to co-own properties with long-term concessions.
These apart, the infrastructure built for the world cup has been planned to be used in different ways once the event is over. The authorities have assured that the stadiums will have a lasting impact on local communities. The larger stadiums with a capacity of 40,000 will be scaled down after the end of the world cup and reduced to a capacity of 20,000. These will be used for local soccer games. Certain other smaller stadiums will also be utilized as mixed-use educational, medical, and commercial facilities. The country’s increased investment in modern infrastructure is expected to expand transportation, commercial, and economic initiatives. The fact that the national government has been involved with the construction and development of all world cup related infrastructure is proof that it is looking at long-term gains.
Qatar World Cup and the Rising Logistics Opportunities
Organizing such a large-scale event is no mean feat. There will be a huge influx of officials, players, managers, foreign delegates, and fans from across the world. This means that Qatar will have several logistics-related challenges to tackle and do it all with complete efficiency. However, Qatar seems to have it all under control. The authorities recently assured all stakeholders that from venue management, broadcasting, and cold chain logistics, to customs, shipping, warehousing, and distribution will all be taken care of right to the minutest details.
The event surely is a huge opportunity for the logistics companies and shipping companies in Qatar, who can showcase their operational efficiency and the capacity to handle such a huge challenge. While the bigger challenges of logistics are quite clear, the smaller aspects like merchandise management, food and beverages, and commodities will need to be managed and reach the right people at the right time. The logistics sector of Qatar will be solely responsible for doing all the dirty work and they have done a great job till now. The construction of huge stadiums and other support infrastructure required extensive transportation and distribution of materials, and Qatar’s logistics industry was able to pull it all off very efficiently.
This has reinforced the fact that the country’s logistics industry is making huge inroads into becoming a self-sustainable, globally acceptable, and efficient industry that only has a bright future ahead of it. The world cup has proved to be a wake-up call for the world to sit back and notice how Qatar has transformed into a country that can rub its shoulders with other global powers in all aspects.